Apparently the Baltimore Orioles had some problems with their waiver wire this week, because 1B Brian Dopirak
has cleared Outright Waivers without being claimed, and has been assigned outright to Hi-A Daytona.
A high school teammate of Cubs 2003 1st round pick RF Ryan Harvey
(both attended Dunedin HS in Florida, the very same high school Jim Hendry and Tim Wilken attended in the 1970's), B-Dope was the Cubs 2nd round selection in the 2002 Rule 4 Draft and was added to the 40-man roster after the 2005 season. No longer on the Cubs 40-man roster, Dopirak will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this December, and can be a six-year minor league FA after the 2008 season.
The problem with Dopirak being added to the 40-man roster after the 2005 season is that he would have been out of minor league options in Spring Training 2009, while Derrek Lee's contract runs through the 2010 season. And since Dopirak is a one-dimiensional player (a power-hitting first-baseman with significant defensive shortcomings who probably should be a DH), the Dude had no real future with the Cubs.
Also, LHP Will Ohman
has been examined by the Cubs team physician in Chicago, and nothing more than the usual wear and tear was found in Ohman's shoulder area
After being optioned to AAA Iowa on Monday, Ohman claimed he had been pitching with a sore shoulder for a while (he said his shoulder had been "barking"), and that he wanted to have the dog checked before reporting to Des Moines.
The Cubs were able to option Ohman to the minors on Monday only because he is still a few days short of accruing five years of MLB service time (if he hadn't been optioned out, he would have hit the five-year mark for MLB service time on Sunday). Once a player reaches five years of MLB ST, he cannot be optioned to the minors without his permission.
The thing that probably concerns Ohman (and his agent) is that if he pitches poorly at Iowa, he might not get recalled by the Cubs on September 1st (when the rosters expand). However, in order for him to be eligible for free-agency after the 2008 season, Ohman MUST start the 2008 season with at least five years of MLB service time. If he does not start the 2008 season with at least five years of MLB service time, Ohman will not be eligible for free-agency until after the 2009 season, and so naturally he would have MUCH preferred to have been placed on the Cubs 15-day (or even 60-day) DL (where he would continue to accrue MLB service time), rather than go on an optional assignment to the minors.